Stakeholders Voice Opposition to Proposed Waterway Tolls
A group of 75 companies and organizations have collectively voiced opposition to a Public Private Partnership (P3) project that would seek to toll the Illinois Waterway and that could make its way into the Water Resources and Development Act (WRDA) of 2016.
The group consisting of a variety of stakeholders across the logistics chain and led by the Waterways Council, Inc. (WCI) yesterday signed and delivered letters urging the House Transportation & Infrastructure and Senate Environment & Public Works Committees to “reject efforts to include language in WRDA 2016 to authorize the imposition of new tolls or fees to finance a P3 on the Inland Waterways Transportation System.”
“We are not opposed to appropriate, properly-structured financing to improve the nation’s inland waterways transportation system,” the letters said. “However, we believe we currently engage in a strong, viable public private partnership with the Corps of Engineers through our dedicated Inland Waterways Trust Fund. Under this partnership, commercial users of the inland waterways system contribute substantial revenues for system modernization and participate in making specific capital investment decisions.”
“Businesses rely upon efficient and cost-competitive waterways transportation when making locational decisions. If the federal government enables private entities to charge waterways tolls, businesses, farmers, producers, and shippers on those waterways would find themselves at a serious competitive disadvantage.”
“If allowed to move forward, this proposal could cripple towing operators and shippers of all commodities with potential tolls on eight locks,” WCI Senior Vice President Deb Calhoun said in an email. “This is an important issue for WCI and all of the waterways stakeholders who have signed onto these letters including the National Association of Manufacturers, American Iron and Steel Institute, United Association and American Petroleum Institute.”